Boca Raton, FL – All a 4-year-old girl wanted was to go to school. Instead, she was found sobbing in a van while her mother was unconscious from a suspected overdose, according to Boca Raton police.
A passing stranger saw the distressed child and called 911.
“I don’t know if she is sleeping … but one baby girl is here and she’s crying and she wants to go to school, she told me,” Andres Rivera told the dispatcher. “The baby, she told me call the police.”
Colleen Jezrel Nichols, 30, of Boca Raton, was arrested on suspicion of committing child neglect. Where the incident happened is not provided on the police report. Rivera saw mother and child in an unlocked, brown Chevrolet van at about 8:40 a.m. Monday.
After Rivera called 911, at the dispatcher’s request he gave the phone to the little girl and she answered a series of questions.
“I tried to wake mommy up and, um, she wouldn’t wake up,” the child told the dispatcher in an edited recording police released Wednesday.
Her mother is a nurse and her father works at a casino, the child said. Her father was at home and was going to pick her up from school.
When asked if this has happened to her mother before, the child said, “No. Last night she fell asleep, and again and again, over and over and over … I don’t know what happened to her.”
As sirens can be heard in the distance on the audio recording, the dispatcher talked with the child while they waited for firefighters and paramedics to arrive.
“I graduate already,” the girl proudly says. “I’m almost 5. I’m four-and-a-half.”
The dispatcher tells her the firefighters will help her mother.
“They’re coming,” she said. “I can see them.”
When the dispatcher tells the girl she’s “doing great,” she says, “Yeah” and then, “I already lost my one tooth … the bottom … in the middle.”
The tooth fairy left her “a lucky penny,” she reported.
Before they hang up, the dispatcher tells her, “Good job, baby!” and thanks Rivera, the caller, too.
Paramedics gave Narcan to Nichols, and she responded positively. The agency administers to patients in “life-threatening, drug overdose situations,” “to reverse the effects of opiates like heroin,” the police report said.
Nichols denied using heroin. While she was in an ambulance, a police officer asked if she knew where her daughter was and she said, “I don’t know, I must have blacked out, I’m under a lot of stress,” according to the report.
Nichols was taken to Boca Raton Regional Hospital to be examined before she was taken into custody.
The Florida Department of Children and Families is investigating the incident and a spokeswoman said the girl is with her family.
Palm Beach County Judge Dina Keever on Tuesday ordered Nichols to not have contact with her daughter and to not have weapons or use alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription medications. She must also undergo random testing, court records show.
Nichols was freed Tuesday from a Palm Beach County jail on $1,000 bond. Her assistant public defender could not be reached for comment.